Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Word, or The Page?

I was thinking about making a list of "Ten Books I Would Save in a Fire," and wondered immediately after how many people would think about it the same way I was. What kind of lists would everyone generate if they did one as well? Would their books contain specific copies of books they own (such as special editions), or would they just write down a list of their favourite books.

Of course, as a perpetual overthinker, this brought me to my next point: do people have a specific attachment to their exact copies of a book, or would any copy of it do? What I'm trying to say, in the most convoluted way, is that I am personally very fond of my specific copies and editions of many of my books, even if there is nothing technically special about them.

Why? It's the same book...

Well, for me, it is about the experience. Say I read a book that I adored and got very into it and stayed up until 2 a.m. reading it. That was a full experience that involved the touch of the pages, the weight of the book and size of it (and therefore indicated how I could hold it comfortably, or lie down), etc. For me, that copy of the book now holds that sensory experience within it, as well as the emotions and the story and words themselves.

So, although Jane Eyre is my favourite book, I would be devastated burning my copy, and simply a bit sad burning another copy. And trust me, the cover of mine is ugly as hell. Couldn't care less - you touch it, and harm will befall you.

When I've been give a book I love as a gift, even though I read it prior, I don't love it quite as much. So, if I read it from the library and then bought a copy, it won't mean as much to me as the copy I read first because it doesn't hold those memories. I will still love it and appreciate it, but I won't cherish it the same way. Heck, if I could buy the library copy, I would - even if it is kind of gross...

What about you? Do you feel attached to specific copies of books you have read and loved? Why do you think that is? Were they given to you as a present, or were they the first copy you read?


  1. I was actually having a conversation similar to this with my sister the other day! I have two copies of The Outsiders. A classic well loved edition and a 50th anniversary one. My sister asked me why I have to have two copies. But this book means so much to me, that to see it go through the milestone of 50 years was something I was so proud of. Nobody is allowed to touch that edition lol.

    1. I don't get particularly attached to books for the reasons you mentioned - and hardly to any other item, be it a record or, say, an object that broke and that I managed to retrieve an exact copy of. Then again, I'm notoriously a cover-blind individual too - which is to say that I care for content pure and simple much more than for anything that might be attached to it. So, as long as I can read my book again, I don't care if it's another edition, or a different copy. I'm so cold-hearted LOL.

      This was a fun discussion idea! Seriously, you need a Twitter account, it would do wonders for publicity.

    2. Oops, why did I reply to Paperbackprincess now? Seriously, I'm not doing anything right on the Internet today LOL.

    3. Emily: That's great - I'm glad you are able to have a special edition as well. It's great to love a book and see it reach a milestone - I keep getting excited every time they release the illustrated Harry Potters because it feels like a new milestone in my head.

    4. Roberta: Not being attached to specific items like that isn't a bad thing! Honestly, it can be quite frustrating and upsetting to be attached to things in very specific ways. For me, it isn't every book that I'm attached to this way, but definitely the ones that are very impactful for me.

      And thank you - I do have an Instagram (which I am trying to be better at forcing myself to use), but I don't know that I would even know what to do with a Twitter account! Do you just post a question to your followers and see how they respond to open discussion?

    5. Some people do, but not me. I just tweet random things (especially, but not always, book-related or blog-promoting), and one friend or the other - or more - usually replies (same for me). You usually start with a few friends you already know from somewhere else, and then some of their friends start following you, or you them, and you often become mutuals...I don't care for social media as a whole, but I like it on Twitter because I put my closest friends (and a few authors or celebrities/shows...) on lists that I check on regularly, so I'm always up-to-date with what the're doing. The format forces you to be concise (though there are ways around it), so everyone tends to keep it short and sweet...or more often, funny. If you have a new post you can link to it after a brief introduction, and people will be more likely to find you (no one seems to like the old blog-following methods anymore). What I know is, I usually close Twitter with a smile on my face because - if you follow the right people - there's always something nice, or funny, or interesting, in your timeline.

    6. That sounds lovely - thank you for sharing. If I end up getting a Twitter over the next bit, I'll be sure that you know about it ;)

    7. I'll be more than happy to connect with you there - and show you around!